*On the phone
As much as most of us use the telephone each day, when there is a serious purpose for using it many people freeze.
This is usually just nerves and the best way to overcome nerves is to do what you fear.
I'm reminded of what a good friend of mine once told me about fear, you may have heard this yourself; fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. That is to say that in the main when we have a fear of something, that fear is usually irrational.
Anyway, lets look at when and how to use the phone for job search.
Here are a few occasions when you are likely to use the phone when looking for work:-
When the advert requests you call for more information.
To phone for an application form.
When you need to obtain information about a company.
To accept a job.
There are dozens of other reasons but no matter the reason the end benefit is to get a job.
With the end benefit in mind you need to make your approach methodical and professional.
Imagine you have seen an advertisement in a local paper:-
Leading Pharmaceutical Company
Requires a Sales Manager with
1 - 3 years previous experience to
work an established regional area.
For an informal discussion call
Holly Wilson at Barnes Big Pills
I've seen plenty of similar adverts and during my time helping people with their job search technique. We would often end up using an advert like this as a starting point for role play.
You know it's really surprising how many people would make a call along the lines of:-
"Hi, I'm calling about the ad in the paper for a Sales Manager, can you tell me what the salary is please?"
Plenty of people don't see anything wrong with that, but if you take time to think about it there's a lot that could be better.
*A better Approach
Lets take a closer look, first of all, this caller doesn't even know if they are talking to the right person.
Next, they may have advertised in more that one paper.
Then, they may be advertising for more than one Sales Manager.
But most importantly, you don't sound interested in the company, just in the money.
It really would pay to take a few minutes to think out what you want to do, and say, maybe even make a few notes and there are a few other things that might help.
Take a closer look at the advert, it be worth finding out a few things about the company, so you could look up "Barnes Big Pills" at the library or on the internet.
Once you have looked them up and know a bit about them you might have a better idea about what they want, how big they are etc.
Think about the things they might want to discuss on the phone, the advert says "informal discussion" what does that mean?
If you think it means what it says then you are kidding yourself. This will be a mini interview to see how you handle yourself on the telephone and how quickly you think on your feet.
The applicant will have 1 - 3 years experience but obviously more would be ok, however the salary might be less than an more experienced sales person might want.
If you had more than the three years experience but needed the job you might want to take time to come up with a positive reply to "you have more experience than we are looking for". You could try something like "I appreciate your concern but I'm sure that the benefit to the company of my experience will outweigh that concern, I'm sure that I'd be very happy working for Barnes Big Pills."
You may be asked about your previous experience in some detail, having your resume to hand would be useful so that you don't need to remember all the dates and companies that you have worked for.
A pen and paper would be useful to make notes with, having to ask the person at the other end to wait while you get a pen and paper doesn't demonstrate a professional who is ready to make appointments or take orders. If everything goes well you would be writing down details of the next step.
*Making the call
First of all introduce yourself and then establish who you are talking to before you launch into your main conversation, the call might start like this:-
"Hello, Barnes Big Pills"
"Hello, my names Steve Richards, could I speak to Holly Wilson please?"
"Certainly, I'll put you through"
"Hello Mr Richards, Holly Wilson here"
"Please, Call me Steve, I'm calling about the advertisement in the Smallville Gazette for the position of Sales Manager, could you tell me a little more about the position please, I'm very interested?"
Now, I'm sure you will agree that this is a more professional approach to the phone call and you it makes a more positive impression.
Notice that the conversation was friendly but that although we know that we are speaking to Holly Wilson, I didn't call her Holly or Miss Wilson, I don't know if she is single or married. Calling her Holly might be over familiar at this stage, but I gave her permission to call me Steve.
This technique of taking a little bit of time to do some very basic research and preparation will pay dividends and if you sometimes experience FEAR remember what it is. To overcome that fear, prepare yourself by running through the call in your head or with a friend. The more you practice the more confident you will be.
Here's to your next interview.
About the Author: Leaving the Royal Air Force, Steve worked for a Charity helping the unemployed to find work. Within a few months the two programs he ran were top of the counties league table. Head hunted, Steve lead 7 similar programs, within 6 months they were all in the top 10 - including the number one spot. http://www.911resume.com